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Frank Barnes

I am professional fine artist painter living in Southport. I was born in Preston Lancashire in 1953 and have lived in different parts of the UK since. I live with my wife Sharon, who is also a practising artist.

I have been painting for many years and have worked as an art educationalist in schools and colleges for over 30 years.

During this time I also worked as an assistant head teacher at an Academy in the Wigan Education Authority.

I am part of a group of professional artists based in Greater Manchester called Cross Street Arts.

As well as being a fine art practitioner I currently work as Principal Examiner for Art and Design at the Assessment and Qualifications Alliance – AQA. Within this role I am involved in training art teachers, writing assessment material, advisory support for art and design and in moderating student portfolios.

My recent work is inspired by a passion for colour and abstract expression. It’s difficult to talk about colour as an ‘idea’ in a rational way, yet nothing can compare with its infinite possibilities and the multiplicity of its possible meanings. A smudge, a smear, a stroke of colour can be any number of things depending on shape, transparency, density, scale and context etc.

The setting and sources for my paintings originate from a simple vocabulary of motifs, symbols and signals which relate to events, locations and memories. I try to paint as automatically as possible. The paintings are intended as glancing episodes composed within illusionistic spaces. Hopefully there is honesty in the way the paintings are made. The paintings are built in layers, each subsequent layer adding to a series of cancellations which partially veil the applications of colour, and spark improvisations.

The sources which inspire these paintings are varied and many, including early Renaissance art, ancient cultures, historic signs, symbols and motifs, mythology , the “primitive”, coastal skies, landscape, Art Brut, North African art, American Abstract Expressionism, Henri Matisse, John Hoyland, the Fauves, Paul Gauguin, Howard Hodgkin, Helen Frankenthaler, Barbara Rae, Hans Hoffman, Alan Davie, Karel Appel, Corneille and the COBRA group. I listen to a lot of music every day and always when I paint.

There is a comfortable relationship between the genres of ambient music and improvised jazz that fits well as a setting for the paintings. The images develop through a process of spontaneously creating fresh visual melodies over structured backgrounds that form the settings for the compositions. My paintings are named as characters. Sometimes the names are chosen because of a relationship to the idea or a memory, and sometimes names are invented to compliment the character of the work.  



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